Founded in 1832 by Auguste Agassiz, the company that would become Longines really came into its own in 1860 when Agassiz’s nephew, Ernest Francillon, took the watch maker’s reigns. Under Francillon, the company moved to a site called Les Longines on the river Suze in 1867, trademarked the name Longines in 1880, and registered the famous winged-hourglass logo in 1889.
Of course, Francillon did more than see to the company’s marketing needs. He also oversaw technological innovations that would make Longines one of the world’s most respected watch makers. One of his first decisions was to introduce anchor escapements into Longines timepieces. Then, in 1888, he presided over Longines’s first certified chronometer.
By 1909, Longines had enough experience with small-caliber movements that it could devote more of its attention to the jewelry watches and wristwatches that would make it famous. Two years later, it introduced a barrel-shaped wristwatch that is considered the precursor of the Longines Evidenza line, which flourished in the 1920s.
As it turns out, the winged-hourglass was a prescient symbol for a company that created numerous timepieces for pilots. In 1919, Longines became the official supplier to the International Aeronautical Federation; in 1925, a Longines accompanied aviator Antonio Locatelli on a flight to the North Pole region; and in 1926, Walter Mittelholzer wore a Longines when he flew from Switzerland to Iran.
But the association really took off, if you will, in 1927, when Charles Lindbergh made his solo flight across the Atlantic. A Longines measurement device at Roosevelt Field in Long Island marked the moment he took off; a similar Longines timepiece at Le Bourget Airfield in Paris where he landed recorded the time of the flight: 33 hours, 30 minutes, 29.8 seconds.
While in the air, Lindbergh had a lot of time to think about a lot of things, including the perfect watch, which he eventually designed for Longines. His Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle, introduced in 1932, used high-frequency quartz regulators to aid in the navigation of transatlantic flights by showing both Greenwich Mean Time and the corresponding hour angle. Needless to say, a Lindbergh Hour Angle from the 1930s is one of the most collectible antique Longines wristwatches available today.
The introduction of a wrist chronograph in 1936 allowed the aviation connection to continue in 1938, when Howard Hughes broke the speed record for a flight around the world. By t...
Calendars, water-resistance, and self-winding mechanisms were added as features to Longines watches during the 1940s. Gold and diamonds became more common as post-war prosperity allowed Longines to go after the luxury market.
And then, in 1954, Longines introduced one of its most enduring sports-lifestyle brands, the Conquest. The handsome Flagship followed in 1957. A vintage Conquest or Flagship from the 1950s is as prized by collectors today as it was by customers in the mid-20th century. Another collectible wristwatch to look from the late 1950s is the Jamboree.
Key terms for Antique and Vintage Longines Wristwatches:
Chronograph: A watch that also records time intervals, like a stopwatch.
Chronometer: A watch that has been certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute not to lose more than four seconds per day, nor to gain more than six.
Escapement: A device that converts the pressure of a spring or coil into a fixed release of movement.
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Longines FEI World Cup: German one-two in LondonScotsman, December 21st
Longines FEI World Cup: German one-two in London. Scott Brash and Hello Sunshine had the last fence down in the World Cup event at Olympia. Picture: PA. by ANDREW BALDOCK. Updated on the 22 December 2014 00:11. Published 22/12/2014 00:00 ...Read more
Longines Rising Star AwardWorld Tempus (press release), December 17th
On Sunday 14 December 2014, in Baku, Juan-Carlos Capelli, Vice-President and Head of International Marketing of Longines, presented for the second consecutive year the Longines Rising Star Award together with an elegant Longines watch to a young ...Read more
Horse Racing - Moore and Moreira double up for Longines Hong Cup and Mile ...Yahoo Eurosport UK, December 15th
Designs on Rome got up to the line in at the death to defeat Military Attack in a thrilling Longines Hong Kong Cup, after Able Friend had coasted to victory in the Longines Hong Kong Mile. The manner of victory for Designs On Rome was a lot more hard...Read more
Denis Lynch second at Longines in La CorunaRTE.ie, December 13th
Ireland's Denis Lynch and All Star 5 took second place and a €100,000 prize after a thrilling 12-horse jump off at Longines Grand Prix in La Coruna, Spain. The first-round speed of Thomas Straumann's bay stallion gave the Tipperary rider the advantage...Read more
Fukunaga wins Longines International Jockeys' ChampionshipEurosport, December 13th
Fukunaga, twice the Champion Jockey in Japan, claimed his two winners aboard Ocean Roar and Vara Pearl to become the second Japanese jockey to win the Longines IJC, following in the footsteps of Yutaka Take who tied with Christophe Soumillon in ...Read more
Breitling, Longines and Tudor mine their archivesSouth China Morning Post (subscription), December 13th
Next we have the Longines Avigation GMT (right), which is part of the spiffing Heritage collection. Longines is, unfairly, looked down upon by a lot of people (likely because it insists on sponsoring showjumping and, let's be honest, no one likes...Read more
Pics: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan Looks Stunning at Longines Store Launch In ...FilmiBeat, December 4th
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, one of the most beautiful woman in the world looked even more stunning at the Longines new store launch in Mumbai. The actress took part in the ribbon cutting ceremony of this new store. Dressed in a little black dress, and some ...Read more
Longines — Christophe Soumillon vainqueur au JaponWorldTempus, December 1st
M. Walter von Känel, Président de Longines, et Chi Ling Lin, Ambassadrice Longines de l'Elégance, ont remis d'élégantes montres Longines au propriétaire, à l'éleveur, à l'entraîneur, au jockey et à des membres de l'équipe d'écurie du cheval gagnant...Read more